The Good Funeral Guide Blog

A ceremony of ashes

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Posted by Vale

We could do with thinking more about what the scattering of ashes. A while ago Evelyn published a wonderful post on the blog (find it here) about scattering Muriel’s ashes in an ‘open, high place’,  and I came across this  poem recently by Edward Storey. It’s a record of a committal, a wonderful tribute and an exploration of what these scatterings can mean. O, and it’s a lovely poem too. Worth a read: 


A Ceremony of Ashes

(In memory of Drew)

The wind was blowing from north to south
To give your wings their eager lift
From man-made boundaries.

Clouds were the continents you crossed,
Hills the last frontier of a life
To reconcile histories.

What joy, what freed exuberance
Suddenly leapt from Offa’s
Creating stars from mortal ash.

You rode like a king on the ancient dyke
To be one with a day that soon unveiled
The landfall of your choice.

You became earth and fire and rain,
Tree-root and leaf, sun-shaft and frost,
Where miles can never pin you down.

Who ever walks this hallowed track
Will, without knowing, always have
Your wise and jovial company.

I came across it in a collection of poems called ‘Almost a Chime Child. It is out of print, but I did find a copy for sale here.

5 comments on “A ceremony of ashes

  1. Evelyn

    Friday 8th February 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Vale – this is so lovely – perfect phrases especially ‘the landfall of your choice’ thank you.

    • Vale

      Saturday 9th February 2013 at 10:08 am

      I thought there was so much in this poem that, as celebrants, we could draw on. Thank you Evelyn.

  2. Vale

    Thursday 7th February 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Very glad you liked the poem Richard. If you are interested there is a companion poem in the same collection – almost like a variation on this one. If you are interested I’ll email it to you.

  3. Thursday 7th February 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I think he’d be flattered, Rich. We’re very open source over here, as you know. Just as you are over at Scattering Ashes –

  4. Thursday 7th February 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Oh I might borrow that if I may (am I allowed to that). I thought the reference to Offa’s dyke was great. That area of the country is so undervalued. Well found that man…

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